10.01.2008 0

A Simple Lesson

  • On: 10/21/2008 20:55:28
  • In: Big Labor

  • Any student who has taken even the most basic economics course will undoubtedly understand the following crucial lesson: when losing money, spend less.

    It is such a simple lesson that it is almost laughable when people—and governments—fail to do so. Despite a troubled public school system, this is one lesson that the Georgia state government seems to have learned.

    According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article published earlier this week, faced with a struggling economy and a $1.6 billion budget deficit, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has ordered 6 percent cuts from the budgets of all state departments. This, of course, includes the budget of the state education department, from which Georgia school officials are currently looking for ways to trim $13.7 million.

    As state schools superintendent Kathy Cox remarked:

    “This is extremely difficult…But the reality is I don’t believe we’re at the bottom of this economic downturn … We’re just going to have to work through it and work through it together.”

    As the old phrase goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Thankfully enough, Mrs. Cox, Governor Perdue, and others in the state government seem to understand the enduring wisdom found within the oft-mentioned cliché.

    Troublingly enough, many people still don’t understand the basic economics of budget cuts and the simple math underlying a deficit scenario. Ironically, one such group of people who still haven’t learned—or refuse to learn—is those whose sole job is to teach.

    In an odd reversal of roles, it is the teachers unions that need to be taught a thing or two. Taking this issue one state south, the Broward County Teachers Union in south Florida is asking for a cost of living increase to their salaries—despite that fact that Florida is facing a large deficit and the Broward School board is attempting to make a $60-million cut from the 2008-2009 budget.

    To make matters worse, the Broward Teachers Union is already receiving a negotiated salary raise described as a ‘step’ increase.

    To quote one such teachers union member:

    “We understand with the economy the way it is, education is going to take huge, huge cuts. It already is. But there has to be at least a cost of living increase.”

    Perhaps this particular member doesn’t understand as clearly as she thinks she does.

    This case represents just one more way that teachers unions are hurting the American public education system. In addition to such outrages like rejecting merit-based pay, protecting dismal teachers, using money for political purposes, and others, requesting more money in the midst of a severe economic downturn is irresponsible and insidious to say the least.

    As state governments all across the country try to get their acts together, it is time teachers unions did the same by taking a refresher course on basic economics.


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